Services

When developing your digital services – web, intranet, extranet, e-commerce, web applications – we are your independent adviser. Our job is to envision the big picture, to design the service concept, to find suitable technologies and to guide your project from ideas to implementation.

Prestudy and project preparations

In the prestudy phase, we create a lasting base for the development of digital services. We’ll find answers to the following questions: What kind of online service would be worth building? Who is it built for? How does it benefit us? What kind of technical architecture does it require? What kind of projects do we need for implementation? In which phases do we proceed with the projects? How much would the implementation work cost? How should we buy the planning and implementation work?

Price tag for the prestudy project is 25 000 – 60 000 euros.

During the prestudy, we chart the business objectives for your online service and conduct the necessary studies for understanding the user needs. Using interviews and surveys, and analyzing background material (for example user statistics, market reports), we’ll vision a successful concept idea for the new digital service.

The concept idea is documented as a communicable preliminary concept design; the service promise is put in words, expected benefits are clarified, and conceptual ideas are refined into service models. For demonstrating the desirable user experience, it can be roughly modelled.

To enable evaluation of required technologies, the key contents and functionalities of the online service are identified.

When the preliminary service concept for the new digital service is clarified the architectural options for it can be outlined. Pros and cons of various options are assessed, and the most suitable overall architecture is lined.

A body of online services may include different kinds of digital solutions and service channels that are implemented using different technologies. Global architecture draws a chart of the technology platforms (Content Management System, eCommerce, portal, Social Media platform, tailor-made system etc.) suited for each channel.

Suitable implementation technologies for the global architecture are analyzed: they are weighed up considering their features, editor experience, total cost of ownership, and availability of potential implementation partners.

Your digital service can be a single web site, a set of online tools on intranet, or a body of online services, consisting of several service and e-commerce channels. In all cases the implementation of the service requires several separate projects, in which the features of the digital service(s) are specified, implementation partners are tendered, content production is coordinated, and roll-out is managed.

To control and anticipate the prerequisites of your digital project, a roadmap is drawn in the prestudy: phasing, scheduling and responsibilities required for implementing the digital service are defined in more detailed program plan.

Getting ready to manage the upcoming program till the completion also requires preparation to costs and human resources. In a prestudy, rough estimates are made about the needed budget for the entire digital program, and what kind of contribution must be found either from own personnel or from external resources.

Specification of requirements

The concept idea of the new digital service must be further specified to the specification of requirements, so that an ideal system platform can be chosen, and the service can be tendered successfully. A large digital program may include several services, which must be specified and tendered individually.

When making specification of requirements, North Patrol will make a more detailed service concept including content, user experience, functionalities, and maintenance tools, to meet the objectives recognized in the prestudy phase. User experience can be refined using wireframe models and prototypes, and functionalities will be refined using more technical specifications of required features. When the requirements have been recognized, the technology solutions can be named, and the most suitable system platform can be named for the digital service.

The price of the specification of requirements project will be about 10 000 – 35 000 euros.

 

Concept design elaborates the objectives, contents, user experience, and functionalities of the new online service. A reader-friendly documentation will be created about:

  • Overall view of the service, target groups, and service objectives
  • Content structure, navigation structures, service paths
  • The special features of user experience
  • Standard elements of user interfaces, different kinds of content types, and their elements
  • Functionalities

The planned concept will be concretized with observation models, which can be wireframe models, image demonstrations, or clickable prototypes. With models the concept can be presented and validated with large audiences, and its suitability can be tested in practice.

When the concept plan of the digital service is created the most suitable system product can be chosen as the platform, and the functionalities of the service can be further refined to benefit from capabilities of the chosen platform.

The required qualities, tools, and capabilities of the new digital service are described as specification of requirements, which will clarify the service concept, content types, functionalities, technology solutions, technical policies, and integrations to other systems.

The specification of requirements by North Patrol is a high-quality written description of the most essential solutions of the digital service that will be implemented; It helps getting realistically estimated implementation proposals, and it gives a comprehensive backlog of digital services that will be implemented.

Bidding

When buying an implementation project for a new digital service, it is also a beginning of a partnership for many years ahead. In addition to costs, also the competence of the partner, lifecycle of the solution, the quality of the project work methods, and the suitability of the cooperation model must be weighted.

North Patrol’s support in bidding saves your time and nerves. Our decades of experience in procurement of digital services helps to ensure that your project will get the best implementation partner with a reasonable price. With our help the bidding will be easy and fair – also within the procurement law of public sector.

Bidding project is typically preceded by prestudy and/or specification of requirements, but as such, the estimated price tag of bidding will be 10 000 – 20 000 euros.

A good RFP represents appropriate expectations and requirements of competences, procedures, tasks, methods, and implementation outcomes for the potential implementation partners. The FRP must be suitable with the selected bidding model and the character of potential digital service bidders.

Having a long experience, North Patrol makes an RFP package including the description of procured system, requirements for the implementation partner, required format of proposal, and the answering forms to fill, which will result with comparable and easy to understand proposals from suitable implementation partner candidates. Tailor-made assessment models are created for more demanding biddings to find a suitable implementation partner.

For starting the bidding effectively, we also help with practical arrangements: we send the RFP on your behalf to interesting candidates, or we help with publishing a public procurement notice on Hilma system.

The proposal comparison by North Patrol provides systematic and objective assessment of the relative superiority between the bidders; The proposals are weighted using suitable criteria and are methodically scored.

Our recommendation of the best bidders is based on this concrete and methodical comparison. When evaluating different kinds of technical solutions, we are supported by our knowledge of hundreds of proposals we have read earlier and tens of similarly bidden programs.

We participate in proposal presentations and in meetings with bidders to evaluate the credibility of their arguments and to ask complementary questions about subjects, that have remained unclear in the proposal documents.

Our recommendation of the chosen partner is justified in a way, that will withstand even critical review: objective comparison of the relevancy of the proposed technical solution, quality factors, and total cost of ownership, based on facts, not imagination. Our partner recommendation is documented so unambiguously that it is easy for the management to make decisions and there is no need to be afraid of the Market Court.

We help our customers with the contract negotiations and with checking and commenting the contract. We make sure that contract terms and procedures meet the best practices and are reasonable also from the customer’s point of view.

Support for implementation phase

When an implementation partner is found and the implementation work begins, a stack of challenging tasks will pile on the customer’s table: The partner’s implementation work must be steered and managed, cooperation with other parties (advertising agencies, news agencies, photography agencies, registers etc.) must be done and inhouse content planning and production must be coordinated.

The experts from North Patrol will help the customer to run the project through in an effective, goal oriented, and successful way. Work can be agreed upon using an hour-based contract or a fixed work reservation (for example 1-2 days per week).

Running and managing a digital project is an uncommon task for a customer that does not necessarily possess the best practices. North Patrol helps for example with the following project management tasks:

  • Project plan creation, human resources, and budget planning
  • Project phasing
  • Defining tasks and responsibilities, work resourcing and organizing
  • Project workload, budget, and schedule tracking
  • Project management group participation
  • Controlling the quality of provider implementation work

In demanding projects, the experienced experts from North Patrol can represent the project team of the customer as external product owners and being responsible for steering the technical implementation.

When North Patrol has participated in conceptualization, planning and definition of new digital service, it has built understanding, which is worth transferring also to the partner that is responsible for implementation and to project group.

Our experts can ensure the realization of the original concept idea for example in the following types of meetings between customer and the implementation partner:

  • Project kickoff meeting
  • Planning workshops for functional definitions and technical planning
  • Meetings about alternative implementation methods and solutions
  • Review of documents produced during implementation
  • Steering group meetings
  • Implementation sprint review meetings

Especially the kickoff meeting facilitated by North Patrol will help with handling the ideas, definitions, and plans created during the preparation phase so that the customer and the provider will gain a mutual understanding: the key points of the concept, priorities of implementation work, and the most important objectives of the digital service are discussed so, that all members in the project team will understand them.

As we have ensured the steps for publishing a high-quality digital service in the first deployment, we plan the transitional steps towards a governance model for continuous development.

North Patrol consultants who participate in the concept planning are useful, effective, and expert support for advancing the content planning. Tasks may include for example:

  • Facilitating content planning, content creation and content provider’s work
  • Planning and processing of content structures, page models, and content scripts
  • Training of content providers (content concept principles, web writing, editing tools)
  • Planning of meta information model, taxonomies
  • Coordination of editorial work (for example translations, photographing, videos)
  • Participation in content providing

Lighten your workload and ensure the quality of the results by outsourcing planning and management tasks to an external expert!

When North Patrol has participated in setting the objectives for your digital service, we can effectively assess the quality of the outcome. Our experts can conduct a goal-oriented evaluation of the quality of the online service, focusing on e.g. communications, usability, accessibility, stability, or performance.

Examples of our quality assurance instruments:

  • Heuristic evaluation of usability
  • Small-scale usability tests
  • Accessibility testing based on the objectives set in the design phase
  • Expert evaluation of accessibility related risks
  • Technical quality assessment
  • Planning and coordinating acceptance tests

 

Instead of nitpicking about minor details, our quality assessments concentrate on the big picture of user experience, and the findings are reported as practical suggestions for improvements.

601 successful projects

We have helped hundreds of companies of versatile industries, of non-profit sector or of public sector. Including web sites, intranets, extranets and e-commerce.

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